The COAG Energy Council has deferred the decision to raise energy performance standards for Australian homes. Renew, Australia's leading not-for-profit organisation promoting sustainable living, has expressed disappointment at the deferral of an important decision by the ministerial group, given the rising energy prices and climate change issues.

Describing the situation as a ‘lost opportunity’, Renew CEO Donna Luckman says lifting the outdated 6-Star standard for new homes and major renovations is an obvious, low-cost way to cut energy bills and carbon emissions.

“The National Construction Code will be a positive step along the pathway to bringing Australian standards into line with world’s best practice, which we currently lag by a long way," she adds.

Renew is part of a coalition of more than 50 community groups including ACOSS, CHOICE and National Shelter advocating for the energy standards of Australian homes to be raised.

Improving home energy efficiency would save households billions of dollars in energy bills, according to ACOSS energy adviser Kellie Caught.

Given how reducing electricity bills was one of the top priorities of the Morrison Government, the COAG Energy Ministers' meeting would have been a golden opportunity to meet that objective while also addressing climate change, says Caught.

Luckman is confident that once higher standards become the new industry norm, the purchasing power of volume builders and the spread of new skills and innovation across the industry will combine to bring additional costs down even further.

Currently, nearly one in 10 Victorians is already building above the minimum 6-Star standard and reaping the benefits. By lifting energy standards and making higher performing homes the norm, all consumers can enjoy the benefits of healthier, more comfortable homes with lower energy bills and a smaller environmental footprint, concludes Luckman.